Making It Personal with Rick Rudnicki, Financial Planner in Skylight’s Toledo Office
He’s been known to seek thrills and adventure, while at heart he’s a man of the community who shows a natural ability to work with people and make things happen. In the latest of our “Making It Personal” Q&A series, we discover a little more about Rick Rudnicki, Senior Associate and Financial Planner in our Toledo Office.
Did you start out your career in the financial services industry?
No, I was in organized labor for 20 years, first as a steward in UPS and then I worked for organizations like Teamsters Local 20 and H.E.R.E. I then managed a small business for a short period and coached high school football and wrestling. Also for 8 years, I spent my summers in West Virginia as a Raft Guide (through which I met my wife Barb!). All these experiences have shaped the person I am today and helped me develop great negotiation, organizational and team building skills.
What attracted you to a career in the financial services industry?
I’ve personally benefited from great financial advice in my lifetime – without which I would have gone bankrupt twice. Having experienced the value of good advice myself, I wanted more people to benefit and this lead me to join Brennan Financial Group in 1996, where I had been a client. Then in 2013, I joined Skylight Financial Group as I was looking for stability and I felt the leadership of Paul Fox and Dan Brennan at Skylight was a great match.
You’ve been involved in many and diverse community organizations spanning 30 years – what makes you so passionate about serving your community?
Yes, I’ve been (and continue to be) involved with, and have chaired boards, for many community organizations including neighbourhood coalitions, the Birmingham ethnic festival, River East Economic Development Corporation, Civilian Police Review Board, city-wide planning, athletics review board, family services, development of recreational opportunities for young people and the Red Cross. I’m passionate about community as it’s an opportunity to make a difference and empower people that don’t have the power or don’t feel they can speak for themselves. In my early life, I was a union organizer, which is much like a community organizer, and there I developed the skillset to make things happen and be a good negotiator. I’ve used these skills to help my community and bring people together for a common cause.
Do you still have an interest in labor organizations?
Yes, I’m interested, as a financial planner, in adding value to employers and their employees. Issues like working conditions, equal pay, safety issues and health insurance have been pretty much covered off so I feel there’s a role for us to provide valuable advice on preparing members for retirement, how best to maximize their finances once their house has been bought or with things like how to help their spouses or relatives manage their businesses. I understand how the unions work from top to bottom and appreciate their principles and ideas. This experience means I can relate to the members and am sensitive to their needs. Many labor groups have preconceived notions about financial advisors which are based on bad experiences. We want to work well with them, build a relationship and a reputation for consistency and honesty so we can provide advice which is in the best interests of their members.
At Skylight, we also partner with and have become great friends with the AFL-CIO and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. These are both are great organizations that do positive things in our community by helping workers and supporting conservation.
Tell us something you know a lot about?
Pensions, retirement planning strategies, and employee benefits. And of course, unions!
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
In my rafting days, we ran New River at 14 feet above flood stage. I’d never ran it at that level before and it was above flood stage.
Who do you most admire and why?
My Dad for never babying me and never allowing me to feel sorry for myself and my Mom for her strength and commitment to family.
Any little-known facts about you?
Aged 16, I had the chance to go to the Olympic trials for Judo. I was just one match away from being successful. I continued to do Judo for 20 years.
Where do you like to eat out in Toledo?
I love Japanese restaurants particularly Yoko and Nagoya. Every week, the Toledo office goes to San Marcos for tacos and we also like the Toledo Club.
What do you like to do to relax and have fun?
I like to be outside so any kind of outdoors stuff like rafting and hiking. I also love to read and typically have 3 to 4 books going at the same time. I’m also interested in visiting wineries in Canada and Michigan.
Thanks Rick for sharing with us!